I’m in the middle of a stats update at the moment-everything except the goaltending stats and playoff odds is current to within the past few days. Some interesting points of note. I’ve added information about ice time for each team and also expressed each player’s ice time as a percentage of the total team ice time. It really is amazing when you think about it that someone like Jarome Iginla pulls down something like 18% of the Flames payroll while playing just 6.2% of the total minutes that a team has to fill. One of my interests is a topic touched on by Tom Benjamin over the course of the summer, which is how a team can most efficiently spend their payroll. He adopted the Lemaire approach and suggested that the optimal approach involves spreading the payroll out over the roster as opposed to concentrating it on a few stars and filling in with scrubs. While I’m not sure that that’s the approach that I’d end up concluding is appropriate, taking a look at the limited amount of Flames ice time Jarome actually plays certainly does suggest that there might be some validity to the idea. I’ve got some ideas for approaching this that I’ll hopefully explore over the next few months.
In other ongoing sagas, the Oilers goaltending continues to be the suck. The team now sits at 28th in the league in save percentage, surrounded by such lottery teams as St. Louis, Chicago and Pittsburgh (seriously, that’s the bottom four.) The difference between the Oilers goaltending and average goaltending so far this year would be 19 goals, good for 6 or 7 points. I’m somewhat curious to know the team that had the worst goaltending while still being a playoff contender-I strongly suspect that this is the worst goaltending to ever have a team in a playoff position in the 30 team era.
Perhaps related to the above, the Oilers have slid in the poisson standings to the point that they now sit in 9th in the Western Conference. I’m running the playoff odds after I log off for the night, but I suspect that the Oilers substantial lead in real points over the teams chasing them will mean that they’re still a 70% bet to make the playoffs. Given my cynicism about EIG, I don’t expect Lowe to make a move to get a goalie until they sense that there’s real danger that the team might not make the playoffs. I’ll let you know tomorrow, but I don’t think such a sense would be well founded at the moment. I don’t see much upside in expending assets to move up in the playoffs myself (home ice is likely not possible for any NW team except the division winner and I’ve got no preference as to which of the top 4 the Oilers play; I’d rather play Detroit than Dallas) and if waiting to get a goalie is relatively low risk, I’d prefer to wait for the price to drop (assuming Lowe is chasing a Denis, Weekes or a Kolzig type; if he’s after Roberto Luongo, it’s a different story) and just shore up the position in time for the playoffs.
Anyway, the rest of the update will be up tomorrow.
EDIT: I saw MacT was on TV tonight saying that he won’t say who will start tonight. My money is on Morrison-Conklin lost the last game and MacT hates Jussi. If you’re betting on how long he lasts in net, I’d bet the under. For those interested in such things, I’ve got the Oilers favoured by about a quarter of a goal. With Vancouver favoured by a goal and a half, the Oilers really need to win this game to keep pace.
EDIT AGAIN: Playoff odds were just updated. The Oilers are still above 70% (although I count ties as both teams making it; they’re actually slightly lower) but I figure we’re still a ways from a trade for a goalie. Those of you who want a new goalie should be cheering for San Jose and against the Oilers for the next little while.